Edmonton in the spring means a river valley in bloom, and the motivation to get out and explore in the warmer weather. If you’re looking to help support local, there are two initiatives going on in Edmonton this spring that aim to help you taste all the flavours of downtown’s restaurants, sometimes at a special price.
You could also just be looking for fresh air, a nice walk, or a bike ride. Between new spring art installations, downtown’s permanent art fixtures, and all our urban green space, there are tons to see- check out the parks on the north side of the river valley, the downtown plazas, or travel back in time on a self-guided historical walking tour.
1. Downtown Spark
Edmonton’s downtown core is putting a little Spark in your spring. With so many wonderful places to explore, views for days, and a variety of local shops and restaurants, downtown Edmonton is truly one-of-a-kind. The city is inviting you to get exploring in this area and has funded several artistic and cultural experiences to put that spark into your downtown experience. They want you to imagine downtown defrosting and winter melting away to reveal things like 13m illuminated humanoids, wâpos, and glowing chickadees!
Spark is also encouraging visitors to wine and dine while downtown, and to save while you support local businesses on 104th Street, which will have food and drink specials on March 27-28.
The different Spark events run from now until April 30th, 2021.
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2. Edmonton Downtown Dining Week
Speaking of supporting downtown restaurants, Downtown Dining Week is coming to Edmonton this April. Though all the details are not announced as of yet, based on past Dining Weeks, we can tell you a little about what to expect. It is first, a great opportunity to try all the varied types of food available from restaurants. Second, it is a great chance to do so at special Dining Week prices. Closer to the start of the event, Downtown BIA will announce the list of participating restaurants, as well as the deals available through each.
This year, the 12-day event occurs April 2021.
3. Dine on the Heated Patios
Edmonton does winter quite well; we have adapted and continue to adapt to the cold weather. This cold weather can run into spring, but that won’t delay patio season. Not this time! While some local pubs and restaurants have offered winter and heated patios for a while now, there is a new way to enjoy this experience: in enclosed tents and geodomes. Whether you’re just looking for a place to sit and enjoy a quick beer, or a 3-course meal rooftop dining experience within the tents/domes, you have many options downtown:
- Cask & Barrel
- Rocky Mountain Icehouse
- The Greenhouse Restaurant at Victoria Golf course
- Geoscapes Dome Dining
- Odd Company Brewing
- Riverside Bistro
- The Common
4. A Walk in the Park
Between Edmonton’s river valley and the downtown core, there is an abundance of parks and greenspace ready to be explored. The north banks of the river offer a few parks, along with amazing skyline views (from East to West):
- Kinnaird Park
- Louise McKinney Riverfront Park
- Rossdale Park
- The Alberta Legislative Grounds
- Victoria Park, and
- McKinnon Ravine Park.
Take a Historical Walking Tour
The Downtown and Oliver neighbourhoods both offer their own self-guided historical walking tours (which could also be done on bike). The interesting history of our downtown core comes alive in the different architecture you’ll find along your stroll through Edmonton’s mixture of shiny new glass, and aged and weathered stone or brick. The City of Edmonton provides brochures to help you find some of the oldest and sometimes most influential buildings in Edmonton. The bright blue skies we’ve received so far this spring make an excellent backdrop to those looking for a historical photography tour!
5. Shop Edmonton
The weather is warming up and places like Downtown and Old Strathcona are becoming a lot more inviting for a shopping trip. There are so many great local businesses in Edmonton who need your support, and who invite you to the downtown core for an afternoon of browsing, perusing, and shopping. A great place to start is Jasper Avenue, the main vein of the south side of downtown, which turns into 124th Street on the west side; this is Edmonton’s Arts District, and is home to galleries, cafes, and boutique shops. Other great places to find local shops downtown include Oliver and the Brewery District, 104th Street and 104th Avenue area, and City Centre Mall. See this list of ideas for kicking off your #supportlocalYEG shopping spree. These local businesses offer a wide array of goods from clothing to sporting goods, to art, housewares, and more.